Postmodern Journeys 03

Walk On  03

By Joseph Natoli

Translated by Springhero

       But I say I am suited to journey in a postmodern way and I am not in any of these categories. Where am I then? I am “ adjunct”: Quite literally academic title is “ Adjunct Lecturer.” But is there an ontological connection here, one that connects me to postmodern journeying? I want to describe what I will call an “ adjunct Lebenswelt” or life world in which one’s connection with the center is marginal, and with the social order, subordinate and temporary.


       Firstly, we have to consider that the life world becomes important only because a separation between world and self cannot be maintained; in other words, we drift into certain connections with self and world that shape or sculpt future interactions. The lifeworld is a product of being thrown into the world, the site of our “ throwness,” by which I mean it is an accidental, “ at this time and in this place, “ interfacer of the ‘ everyday” out of which we can concoct and even hook up with grand, transcending ‘ everydayness” stories.


      Paradoxically, these grand stories tell us that we are not accompaniments to the “ flux of the everyday” but can transcend that flux. We live in the myth that we can remove the lens of the lebenswelt from our gaze and encounter our being severed from where it has its being ( its state of throwness). We live in the myth that we can apprehend from “ the outside “ world as it is severed from it being always already caught in its own everydayness.


        This is not a “war” that can be brought to closure through either peace or extermination; this is a true paradox. Either we are inevitably questioning what we are and what the world is from within lifeworlds, already complicit with the everydayness out of which our questions arise, or we have already separated ourselves from both the lifeworld and the world’s everydayness and are asking questions and getting answers that bring both the flux of being and the worldly flux to a stop. Baldly put: We can either tell a story of being “ inside” things or are able to get “ outside” things.


        As soon as you say something that pretends to be outside the contingencies of self and world, outside the force of the everyday, you can say that only those contingencies at that time and the everydayness you are in at that time engender such a story of detachment. But in the modern world, we have been striving strenuously to transcend the stories of “ always already” worldly attachment. We have been placing our bets on “ methods of detachment” that winnow “ storymaking” from “ reality.”


       Being “ thrown into” the modern world means that we are thrown into a world in which such stories of detachment flourish—and since the Enlightenment and the “ rise of of Science,’ they do. Such stories are employed to transcend the stories of no detachment, of “ always already-ness,” the stories of being inseparable from the world and world accessible only in its perplexing, changeable ‘ everydayness.”


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